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Blood Diamond's Zwick Sees African Holocaust

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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THROWING STONES Zwick Blood Diamond director Edward Zwick's outspokenness didn't win him any accolades from an audience of his fellow Jews on Monday. Delivering a speech at the Rapaport International Diamond Conference in New York, Zwick made the classic gesture of rhetorical overreach, comparing the vicious consequences of the gem trade to the Holocaust.

"To say ...'None of us even knew it was happening,' is to miss the point," he said, according to a copy of his remarks. "Complicity is not just a phrase of art. Many of us in this room are Jews. How many of us would accept the argument that those in Nazi Germany who stood idly by and watched the slaughter of 6 million are free of blame because they now claim not to have known what was happening?"

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This passage was met with silence and blank stares from the largely Orthodox audience. Later, an argument broke out between Zwick and World Diamond Council Chairman Eli Izhakoff, who challenged Zwick's assertion that the diamond industry has been fueling conflict in Sierra Leone for 75 years.

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